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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

so         HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

period. In any case, it must not be thought that all work and no
play made Charicles a dull boy. As the palestras were generally
surrounded by spacious grounds, it may be assumed that a
considerable part of the time was occupied with play under
proper supervision. Most of our common games were played
in Athens, and the Greek educators had quite sound notions
about their educational value.

No special provision was made at this period for the moral
and intellectual education of the older boys. Sometime about
fourteen or fifteen, the sons of the wealthier citizens were trans-
ferred from the palestra to the gymnasium, and subjected for
two years to a more advanced course of physical exercises under
the expert care of a paidotribe. They were now permitted to
be present at the civic assembly, %nd were expected to attend
the theatre and the law courts. How effective might be the
informal education got from this participation in adult affairs
will be evident when the character of the Athenian youth's
environment is considered. As he went along the streets he saw
on every side products of the noblest art the world has known.
Day by day he might hear the discussions of men of apt speech
and wide experience on political questions, in the settlement of
which they had a personal share; and in the springtime he might
take his appointed place in the theatre of Dionyam, and witness
from morning till night the performance of the tragedies presented
in competition for the prize given annually for tragic poetry.
Surely there never was an age that made a richer or more varied
appeal to the adolescent* Here, if ever, life itself was the real
educator,

'At the end of two or three years of this intermediate training,
wKen he had reached the age of eighteen, the free-born Athenian
youth was entered on the roll of the city and became an ephebus.
[The oath which he took in the temple of Athens on his initiation
reveals the spirit of the ephebiate* It ran as follows: " I will
never disgrace my sacred arms, nor desert my comrade in the
ranks. I will fight for temples and for public property, whether
alone or with my fellows* I will leave my country not less* but
greater and better, than I found it, I will obey the magistrates
and observe the existing laws> and those the people may hereafter
*ftake< If anyone tries to overthrow or disobey the ordinances,
I will resist hiin m their defence, whether aloue or with my fdlom,